1. kids use art for outreach 
  2. kids use art to to build a global peer community 
  3. kids use art to learn about world cultures.
Some Big Picture Foundation groups follow our “Shared Themes,” in order to bridge cultural divides and to learn about world cultures.  Some groups develop unique local, national, and global projects that combine art and outreach.  Groups aren’t required to develop their own art outreach initiatives, but those that have personalized this challenge, have inspired the rest of us.

Kids at the home base BPF chapter in Rye, NY, have done so much outreach work with art, that it has become a thriving part of the town culture.  A more complete overview of their work can be found on the additional page, “BPF Hometown Art Outreach.”
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  Vajra Academy, in Kathmandu, Nepal, is the first eco-school of its kind.  The curriculum and entire ethos of the school prioritizes the study of ecology and sustainable practices.  Vice-principal, Udit Badra, developed “Tie-the-Trash,” an initiative combining community outreach, installation and performance art, and environmental studies.  Children at Vajra Academy collect and tie the plastic waste they find in their environment, thereby creating a plastic rope. Eventually, when their rope extends 27.8 kilometers (17.3 miles), the children will pull the rope all the way around Ring Road, which encircles Kathmandu.  By transforming common plastic debris into something unusual, by parading with the rope as a unified group, and by surrounding the entire city in their ties trash, these children raise awareness about protecting the earth. Over several years, the US based Greenheart group, has made trips to Tie-the-Trash with Vajra Academy.  Greenheart has used music and presentations to promote Vajra Academy’s efforts.  They are also working with the Vajra School on a project to turn plastic waste into filament for 3D printing.  These photos are from their most recent trip to Nepal, in November 2017, during which, Greenheart founder, James Dean Conklin, invited the Vajra School and the Bal Kendra School, both of Kathmandu, Nepal, to join Big Picture Foundation.  Perhaps the example set by the Vajra School will inspire our other Big Picture schools to also Tie-the-Trash! Greenheart includes Big Picture Foundation volunteer and patron, Julie Corbalis.    

photo credit: Jim Metzger

  • (kids helping kids)  This year, kids at the Za’atari Refugee Camp, in Mufraq, Jordan, created art for hope.  They created images of the world they would like to build for the future.  Last year, the Za’atari kids made handprint murals.  Hundreds of hands came together to show support to children remaining in danger in Syria.
  • (kids helping kids)  This year, the kids at the Harsham Refugee Camp, in Erbil, Iraq, started by planting a BPF sprout garden.  Then, they worked on our 2017-2018 Shared Theme, “Build a Fort.” So, how do kids in a refugee camp build forts with extremely limited resources?  Led by 19-year-old Mustafa*, our volunter founder and director of the Iraqi branch of our program, the kids used ancient Mesopotamian brick-making techniques.  With their hand-made clay, they made bricks, which they turned into forts.  This group won the Fall 2017 Big Picture Foundation “Best in Show” award.  Last year, Mustafa kick-started the Big Picture Foundation group at the Harsham Refugee Camp, in Erbil, Iraq.  He photo-documented buying art supplies, which he was able to do with a small contribution from kids in Rye, NY.  He also documented distributing the supplies to kids in his community who wanted to join the program.  Finally, on our Big Picture Foundation website, he shared pictures of the Iraqi kids’ finished work.           * name changed for safety 

  • (kids helping kids) This year, Kids at the Anjali Khalsa English School in Ahmedabad, India, invented a “Shared Themes” project and demo video, to encourage partner groups to work together towards common goals.  Last year, their group hand-dyed and sold bandana cloth.  With the proceeds, they bought 101 blankets for homeless community members.

  • (kids helping kids)  At the World Heart Beat Music Academy in London, England, children of all backgrounds come together to use music to break down barriers and to create the world we want to share.

  • (kids helping kids) At our school in China, art outreach happens within the classroom.  Kids create art that then becomes part of their own lessons and part of the classroom structure.
  • (kids helping kids)  The children at Saint Mary’s School in Savalalo, Samoa, and the kids at the Marist Brothers’ Primary School in Apia, Samoa make singing for joy and for community bonding, part of the identity of their schools.samoa.jpg

  • (adults’ art outreach initiatives) Despite challenging circumstances, extraordinary IRD and UNHRC aid workers have spearheaded two rounds of Big Picture Foundation projects with Syrian kids at the Za’atari Refugee Camp, in Mufraq, Jordan.

  • (adults’ art outreach initiatives) Tejas Mehta, our 2016-2017 BPF 5th grade teacher at the Anjali Khalsa English School, who actively engaged his students with Big Picture Foundation projects, finished his two-year term with Teach-for-India, but he has volunteered to continue coordinating Big Picture Foundation projects.  He would like to plan a pairing program, in which kids from our global groups work together on projects.
  • (adults’ art outreach initiatives) The entire focus of London, England based nonprofit, World Heart Beat Music Academy, founded by Sahana Gero, is to make music accessible to children of all backgrounds.” The World Heart Beat Music Academy envisions a world where music, as a universal form of communication, bridges cultural, political, economic and linguistic barriers.”  – Sahana Gero, founder of the World Heart Beat Music Academy
  • (adults’ art outreach initiatives)  Professor Shpend Bengu held a public exhibit of his students’ Big Picture Foundation work, at the Universiteti Europiani Tiranes.  At the event, he made the website available and spoke to a public audience about what we do.  18575131_10155291578518350_1265338727_o
  • (adults’ art outreach initiatives)  Eman el Shazly, a friend of the director of BPF, recently volunteered to help coordinate our program in Cairo, Egypt.
  • Kids and parents in Rye, NY have made Big Picture Foundation a community based organization.  Without the parents’ help, guidance, and oversight, all the kids’ group projects wouldn’t be possible.  For more, please see: “BPF Hometown Art Outreach.”

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